Samuel Stillman Greene.

A grammar of the English language: adapted to the use of schools and academies online

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one necessarily restricts the meaning of the other.

8. When an element to be pointed off stands at the beginning or end
of a sentence, one comma only is used ; but when it stands within the
sentence, two commas are usually employed; as, *<In fact, the people
are the dupes of demagogues." **The people, in fact, are the dupei
of demagogues."

4. The comma is often used to mark the omission of a word, espe-
cially that of the verb in closely connected clauses ; as, << Semiramis
built Babylon; Dido, Carthage; and Bomulus, Borne.*'

5. The comma may be used to separate, —
(a) Coordinate elements,

(6) A principal from a aubordinaie element.

(c) Two principal elements,

(d) An independent, or a parenthetic element from the rest of the senteBce. ]

242. Coordinate Elements.

1. All coordinate elements may be divided into, —

(a.) Coordinate pairSf or couplets, consisting of two coordinate terms.

(6.) Coordinate series, consisting of three or more coordinate terms. Thus,
"Nouns And pronouns" is a couplet; *^ Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, B.nd parti-
ciples" is a coordinate series. In the following example we have a series of
couplets or compound terms : — " But, whether ingenious or dull, learned or
ignorant, clownish or polite, every innocent man, without exception, has as
good a right to liberty as to life." — Beattie,

2. The pointing of couplets depends, in some measure, upon the
closeness of the connection. As a general rule, two elements are most
closely connected when correlatives are used, except when used for con-
trast or emphasis, less closely connected when a single coi^unction is
employed, and least of all when none is used;_as, **He was both vir-
tuout and wise;" << He was virtuous and wise;" *< He was virtuous, wise,"

8. The terms of a coordinate couplet, as a general rule, should
not be separated.

The comma separates elements. Not to break an intimate relation. Om#
comma, two commas. Omission of a word. Coordinate pairs. Coordinate
series. Rules for couplets.

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BxucPLxi. — **Hop€ And fear, pUamr€ and pain^ diTcniiy our liTei;"
** Virtue or vice predominates in every man and socman"

4. The terms of a coordinate couplet should be separated,—
(a.) When the coi\|iinction is tmiUed,
(6.) When the terms are identical or equivalent,
(o.) When the terms are oontraeted or emphatically diatinguithed,
(d.) When either term is limited by an element not applicable to the otheijp
or is more extended than the other.

(e.) When both are limited, and thus eonsiderably extended.

Examples. — (a.) "The tweeteet, wildeet land on earth." (ft.) ** Riee, riee,
ye wild tempests ;" " Verily, verily, I say unto you ;" " We sailed into an inlet,
or bay." (c.) *< 'Tis certain he could write, and cipher too." " The fellow was
wicked, not weak," (See 244, 4, d.). {d.) <' Undue susceptibility, and the
preponderance of mere feeling over thoaghtfulness, may mislead us." (e.) /m-
tegrity of understanding, and nicety of discemmenty were not allotted in a
less proportion to Dryden than to Pope."

Note. — Contrasted words, having a common dependence, and not emphati-
oally distinguished, should not be separated; as, « He led an eaey but ueeleee
lifo." Not so with contrasted phrtuee ; as, " It was not the result of a haety,
but of a deliberate, judgment."

5. The terms of a coordinate series^ whether simple^ complez,
or compound; should be separated by the comma.

Examples. — " In pronouncing the words liliee, roeee, tulipe, pinka,JonfuiU,
we see the things themselves, and seeip to taste their beauty and sweetness ;"
'* The good man is alive to all the aympathiee, the sanctions, and the lovee of
•octal existence/* ** Sink or ewim, live or die, I give my hand and my heart to
this vote."

" Caetlee and viUae, titUe, vauaU, land,
Coachee and curriclet, and /our»'in-hand,*'

6. The final term of a couplet or series is generally not separated from
the term grammatically dependent upon it, except, —

(a.) When the conjunction is omitted.

{b.) When the terms are considerably complex.

(c.) When the meaning is made clearer by the point. (See 244, 2, (.).

Examples. — " Capture, demolish, and bum their cities." (a.) " Capture,
demoliah, bum, their cities." (6.) ** Ingratitude for favors, undue regard for
self, and forgetfulness of others, are marks of a weak and sordid mind."

Note. — By some, yet erroneously, the last noun of a compound subject, is
separated from the verb, even when the conjunction is used; as, ** Homer,
Virgil, and Horace, were the most renowned of the ancient poets."

7. When the terms of a couplet or a series consist of coordinate elautet,
whether the propositions themselves are principal or subordinate, a

Bule for series. Exceptions. Coordinate clauses.

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eomma should separate them, except as in (249, 1, a,, h.) ; as, ** That their
poetry is almost uniformly mournful, and that their yiews of nature
were dark and dreary, ^ill be allowed by all who admit the authenticity
of Ossian;'' ** I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat/'

243. Exercise.

1. Explain hy (242, 8) why thefollomng couplets are not separated :~^
Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer.

His bitter and scoffing speech had inflicted keener wounds than his am-
bition. The powers of their mind seem to be parched up and withered
by the public gaze. In his letters and conversation he alluded to the
greatest potentates. He acted neither wisely nor prudently. £ither
you or I must go.

2. Explain the punctuation of the foUowing hy (242, 8, a. h, e., &c.).
Liberal, not layish, is nature's hand. We often commend, as well as

censure, imprudently. He can eat, and sleep too. None, but thou, can
aid us. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.
Public charities, and benevolent associations, for the gratuitous relief
of every species of distress, are peculiar to Christianity. Powerful
friends, and first-rate connections, often assist a man's rise, and con-
tribute to his promotion. Illustrious men have often lived unrewarded,
and died unlamented. Blow, blow, thou winter wind. Freeze, freeze,
thou bitter sky. A comma is a point, or mark. Dear, gentle, patient,
noble Nell was dead. The deaf, the blind, the lame, and the palsied
were there. Decrepid age, and vigorous life, and blooming youth, and
helpless infancy poured forth to gather round her tomb. She plans,
provides, expatiates, triumphs there. The rich and the poor, the high
and the low, the learned and the unlearned, have access alike to this
fountain of peace. The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted
existence. Children climb the green mound of the rampart, and ivy
holds together the half-demolished buttress.

When riseth LacedsBmon's hardihood.
When Thebes Epaminondas rears again,
When Athens' children are with arts endued.
When Grecian mothers shall give birth to men^
Then thou may'st be restored : — ^but not till then.

** Blessing, honor, glory, might.
Are the Conqueror's native right ;
Thrones and powers before him fall-
Lamb of God, and Lord of all!''



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241 Principal and Subordinate Elements.

1. A subordinate element generally, whether a word, a phrase, or a
clause, is not separated from the principal element to which it belongs
when used restrictiyely, or when the connection is close ; as, *^ He that
hath no nUe over his oton spirit is like a city that it broken dovm;^* ** The
kings of the earth set themselyes ;" ** The precise period when (202, 21)
the discovery was made, is not known."

2- The aeffective element should be pointed off in the following cases, —

(a.) When an adjeotire clanse, either fuU, or in its eqniyalent abridged form,
is explanatory (202, 13) ; as, ** We venerate the name of Washington, who
fffoa etyled the father of hie country;" ** Paesion is like a whirlwind, pros-
trating indiecriminately nohatever comee in its way" In this case, two commas
(241, 3) are used when the clause comes within the sentence before the predi-

(6.) Whenth3 antecedent is a coordinate series (242, 1), even a restrictiye
clause is pointed off, to show that the relative belongs equally to each of its
terms ; as, ** The oxygen, nitrogen, and carbonic acid, which unite to form the
atmospherCf are mingled in unequal proportions."

(c.) The noun in apposition may be considered a'b derived from an a^ec-
tive clause containing a predicate noun, and is always to be pointed off when
it is explanatory (208, 3) ; as, ** Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in
the land of Moab ;" '< I have killed the king, my husband."

{d,) A noun in apposition, when used restriotively, or when with a personal
pronoun, or another noun, it forms a close combination, is not pointed off;
as, **King John;" '* General Gates;" " Ye winds;" ** Gladding brothers;**
yet, when two closely combined names are inverted, the comma is used ; as,
*' Lincoln, Levi ;" " Harrison, William Henry"

(«.) A noun in apposition, if modified by phrases or clauses, is usually
pointed offj as, "Theodore, the hermit of Teneriffe"

(/.) A noun in apposition, or an adjective or participial phrase equivalent
to a subordinate clause, when employed to introduce a sentence, is pointed off;
as, **A professed Catholic, he imprisoned the Pope;" "Cradled in the camp^
Napoleon was the darling of his army."

8. The objective element, whether a word, phrase, or clause, is closely
connected to the verb on which it depends, tmd, unless transposed,
should not be pointed off; as, "The ox knoweth his owner;" "They
long to see that day," "I know not what we can do;" **The impending
storm which threatened us, we all escaped."

(a.) Though, as a general rule, inverted and loosely connected phrases or
clauses should not intervene between the object and its governing verb, when
such cases do occur, commas should separate them from the verb and its object;
as, "He wishes, in fine, to join ^is companions;" "He has bought, as I am
told, a large tract of uncultivated land."

Subordinate elements not pointed off. The adjective element, when pointed
off, when not The objective element, when pointed off, when not

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(ft.) When an objectiye clause is a direct quotation (170), and is separated
by the principal clause, the latter should be pointed off by two commas, —
otherwise by one ; as, " For all that," said the pendulum, <' it is yery dark
here ;" " I say unto all. Watch."

(o.) The double object of a copulative verb should not be separated when the
first has the emphasis, or when they are equally emphatic $ as, " They called
him John /" " They called Mile§ a carpenter,'* But when the emphasis falls
strongly on the second, it should be pointed off; as, ''And they called Bar-
nabcu, Jupiter; and Paul, Mereuriue"

4. The adverbial element is often more loosely connected than either
the adjective or the objectiye, and is, consequently, more frequently
transposed; yet, when arranged in its natural order, whether it be a
word, phrase, or clause, or when closely connected, it should not be
pointed off; as, ** Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth ; and let not thine
heart be glad when he etumhleth ;" <' On the summit of the mountain the air
is cool and refreshing;" ''The child was treated kindly."

(o.) All loosely connected adverbial expressions, whether words, phrases, or
clauses, and especially such adverbial and conjunctive words and phrases as
again, now, then, however, there/ore, too, heaidea, further, once more, in fine, in
general, on the contrary, without doubt, aa it aeema to me, and the like, should
be pointed off (348 and 241, 3) ; as, " On the contrary, the truth lies here."

(6.) Phrases and clauses, which, in tlfb natural order, would be so closely
connected as to need no point, are usually pointed off when inverted, and
always when the meaning would be doubtful without a point ; as, "But to
Oaaian, thou lookest in vain ;" " When thou goeat, thy steps shall not be strait-
ened." In the case of inverted phraaea, which commence a sentence, the point
is often omitted ; as, " On the third day Burke rose." — Macaulay,

(c.) Adverbial clauses, especially when long, and always if loosely con-
nected, are pointed off, wherever placed. These are generidly such as denote
condition, purpoM, eonceaaion, cauae, time, or place; as, " Kiss the Son, leat he
be angry, and ye periah"

{d.) When a subordinate element is connected by means of correlatives, it is
closely united, and, therefore, not generally pointed off, especially when than or
aa, ao — that, or auch — that, are used ; but is used more or less by way of con-
trast in all other cases, and, hence, pointed off; as, "Never take more food
than is conducive to health ;" " Though thou be sought for, yet shalt thoa
never be found again ;" " Though deep, yet clear,*'

845. Exercise.

In the following examples, point out the principal and the subordinate
elements; and show why the comma is, or ie not, used according to

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper ; but whoso confesseth and
forsaketh them shall have mercy. The wicked flee when no man pur-

The adverbial element^ when pointed off^ when not

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sueth. Some hare wondered how it happens that those who haye shone
oonspicuonsly at the bar should have been eclipsed in the senate. He
bad faults unknown to all but his most intimate friends (2, a. b. c). Men
of strong minds, who think for themselves, should not be discouraged,
on finding occasionally that some of their best ideas have been antici-
pated bj former writers. There are many good-natured fellows who
have paid the forfeit of their lives to their love of bantering and raillery.
The oranges, lemons, and figs, which grow in tlie northern range of the
Southern States, are of an inferior quality. No thought can be just,
of which good sense is not the ground- work. I therefore, the prisoner
of the Lord, beseech you. Thus saith the Lord, your Redeemer, the
Holy One of Israel, I am the Lord, your God. General Howe com-
manded the British forces. Otis, James A. ye laurels ! He called
the name of that place Bethel. Daniel Webster, the great American
statesman, died at Marshfield. I at first believed that all these olyects
existed within me. And cried, *' I've caught you then at last.'* ** My
dear Edward," said he, "this is truly kind." Fortunately for him, a
little below this place was an island. The beginning of strife is as
when one letteth out water. If one burden can be borne, so can
another and another. I am willing, for the general satisfaction, to
assign my reasons. *

246. The Principal Elements.

1. Except when the complex subject is very long, no comma
is required between it and the predicate ; as, " He who masters
his passions conquers his greatest enemy.''

2. It can scarcely be called an exception to this mle, that a point shonld
be placed before tiie predicate, when preceded by a phrase pointed ofif by
(244, 4, a.); as, ''The moit delicious fruits, generally tpeaking, are found in
tropical climates." So, again by (242, 6, a.) a comma should be placed before
the predicate; as, ** Patience, meekneee, humility, are among the noblest
Christian virtues."

3. When the logical subject ends with a verb, or when, without a comma»
the meaning might be doubtfol, a comma should be placed before the predi-
cate; as, « Whatever is, is right"

4. When the attribute is a clause, a comma should be placed between it and
the copula; as, ** The reason is, that the proposition itself is preposterous."

247. Exercise.

Show by (246, 1, 2, 8, 4) why the comma it used or omitted m ihefoUowkig
examplet : —
•The fate of a brave people was to be decided. Each of the negotia-

No point between the subject and predicate. Bzceptions.

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tors had what the other wanted. Some, from a diseased fancy, oannot
confine themselves to a single spot. All these mistaken pursuers of
good, sooner or later, are the prej of excessive ennui. Industry,
frugality, economy, are essential to thrift. The want of fUel, of water,
and of forage, compelled the party to retreat. He who has learned to
obey, may hope to govern. He that seeketh, findeth. The truth is, that
the whole of the surface of these beautiful plains is clad throughout
the season of verdure with every imaginable variety of color. The
question is, ** Where shall we go V*

248. Independent and Parenthetic Expressions.

1. Independent expressions should be separated from the rest
of the sentence by a comma ; as, " Yet once more, ye laurels ;*'
^' Gadf a troop shall overcome him ;" " This said, he formed thee
Adanif thee, man;** " To confess the truthy I was in error;"
" Generally speaking ^ little can be done after the first month /'
** Saying, Lord^ Lord^ open unto us."

(a.) When a direct address is expressive of strong feeling, the excla-
mation point is used ; as, ** Desdemona ! Desdemona ! dead !"

(6.) Interjections in many cases require no pause, but when pointed
off at all, are separated by the comma, if not emphatic ; otherwise by
the exclamation point; as, " sing to me of Heaven;" «*Xo, here is
Christ ;" ** Oh ! what a situation I am placed in ?"

(c.) Expressions used parenthetically should be pointed off by the
comma; as, <*Thou knowest, come what may, that the light of truth
oannot be put out."

249. The Semicolon and Colon.

1. The semicolon is used to separate the parts of a sentence
which are loosely connected ; as, ^' Make a proper use of your time ;
for the loss of it can never be regained."

(a.) Coordinate principal elaueee are separated by the semicolon when
the conjunction is omitted, or when the connection is not close ; as,
" Life is short ; art is long ;" " A clownish air is but a small defect ; yet
it is enough to make a man disagreeable."

(6.) Subordinate parte, when extended, if they form a coordinate series
either at the beginning or end of a sentence, are separated by the semi-
colon, when not so closely connected as to require a comma.

Independent expressions separated by points, — sometimes by a comm%
sometimes by an exclamation point. Parenthetical expressions.

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Exam PLB.— " Philosophers assert that Naiare is unlimited in her openu
tions ; that she has inexhaustible treasures in reserve ; that knowledge will
always be progressive; and that all future generations will oontinne to make
diseoveries of which we have not the slightest idea."

(c.) The semicolon should be placed before as, used to introduce an
example. See the examples in the preceding paragraphs.

(d.) The semicolon is used before namely, viz., to %cit, when the sub-
divisions of a preceding term are introduced in a formal way ; otherwise
the comma or dash is used; as, "Pronouns are divided into three
elasses; nankly, Personal, Relative, and Interrogative." Less formally,
thus : — " Into three classes — Personal, Relative, and Interrogative,"

(e.) The colon is now but little used except before examples following
the expressions as follows, the following examples, in these words, &e. ; as,
** Perform the following exercises :" ** He used these words : Mr. Presi-
dent i" &c. It is also used to separate the terms of a proportion ; as,

250. Exercise.

Insert the comma, the semicolon, and the colon where they are required m
the following examples: —

Never value yourself upon your fortune for this is the sign of a weak
mind. Pope had perhaps the judgment of Dryden but Dryden certainly
wanted the diligence of Pope. The great tendency and purpose of
poetry is to carry the mind above and beyond the beaten dusty weary
walks of ordinary life to lift it into a purer element and to breathe into
it more profound and generous emotion. Write on your slates the fol-
lowing example Mary and John will go. Endeavor to excel much may
be accomplished by perseverance. He has two coats namely a black
one and a gray one. The noon is the name of an object as Boston paper.

251. The Dash and Parenfhesis.

1. The dash is used where there b a significant panse^ an
unexpected transition in the sentence, or where a sentence is left
unfinished ; as, '^ He sometimes counsel takes, and sometimes —
snuff." " But I must first ."

2. The dash is now frequently used instead of the parenthesis ; as,
" The colonists — such is human nature— desired to bum the town, in
which they had been so wretched."

3. The dash, or comma and dash, may be placed before the partj
which resume a whole, or before a construction which is resumed ; as,
^ *

The colon. The dash.

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•'There are three persons — the first, the second, and the third" "You
speak like a boy, — ^like a boj who thinks the old gnarled oak can be
twisted as easy as the young sapling."

4. The parenthesis is used to enclose a part of a sentence not
necessary to the construction, but in some way explanatory of
the meaning of the sentence; as, ^'Consider (and may the
consideration sink deep into your hearts) the fatal consequences
of a wicked life."

262. Exercise.

Insert the dash and the parenthesis lohere they are required in the following
examples : —

Horror burst the bands of sleep ; but my feelings words are too weak,
too powerless to express them. The Egyptian style of architecture see
Dr. Pocock, not his discourses but his prints was apparently the mother
of the Greek. While they wished to please, and why should they not
wish it, they disdained honorable means. If thou art he, so much
respected once but, 0, how fallen ! how degraded ! The atmosphere is
composed of three parts oxygen, nitrogen, and carbonic acid gas.
Greece, Carthage, Rome where are they ?


253. The Period.

1. The period is used at the close of a declarative or an impera-
tive sentence ; as, " Knowledge is not only pleasant, but useful
and honorable."

2. The period is used after abbreviations; as, ^^The age of MSS.
is, in some instances, known by dates inserted in them ;" << I was
invited to meet Mr. and Mrs. Cliflford."

3. The period is placed after any word, heading y titles or
other expression used independently and alone ; aa^ Exercise. The
Period, H, Cowperthwait and Company,

^ 4. The period is used after numeral letters ; as, V. XII.

254. Exercise.

Insert the period where it is required in the foUotoing examples :^^

Truth is the basis of every virtue It is the voice of reason Let its

Parenthesii. Period, at the close of a sentence ; after abbreviations, words,
lieadings, Ac. ; after numeral letters.

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preoepts be religiously obeyed Never transgress its limits Abhor s
folsehood I would say to the people, Tou cannot, without guilt and
disgrace, stop where you are The oration was delivered by J L Thomp-
son, Esq The event occurred B G 1001 To R H Dana Jun Esq the well-
known author of **Two Years before the Mast,'' the community are
greatly indebted But the seasons are not alike in all countries of the
same region, for the reasons already given See Chap YI { 2 f 4 p 330
See (267, 4) Little and Brown's store A new thing under the sun
Bipe apples for sale Chapter XX Sec X Part I

255. Xnterrogation and Exclamation Points.

1. An interrogation point is used at the close of an interroga-
tiye, and an exclamation point at the close of an exclamatory
sentence ; as^ ^' Who comes there ?" '^ How unsearchable are his
ways I"

2. When an interrogative sentence is used as a subordinate clause, —
(1.) The interrogation point is employed when the clause is quoted directly ;

as, " He said, Why do you weep V*

(2.) The interrogation point is not employed where the clause is quoted
indirectly j as, " He asked me why I wept."

3. An exclamation point is often used within a sentence, after an ex-
clamatory expression or an inteijection ; as, << 0, Jove Supreme I whom
men and gods revere !" ** 1 let soft pity touch the mind V*

256. Exercises.

Imert interrogation and exclamation points where they are required in the
following examples : —

Daughter of Faith awake arise illume the dread unknown the chaos
of the tomb Whither shall I turn Wretch that I am To what place
shall I betake myself Pascal thou wert pure in heart in this world,

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Online LibrarySamuel Stillman GreeneA grammar of the English language: adapted to the use of schools and academies → online text (page 24 of 25)